Autumn Magic! Fall Leaves, Mod Podge, and Food Coloring

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Not a leaf! The "leaves" on this vase are 100% Mod Podge "film" tinted with a few drops of food coloring.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Same for this garland! Tinted Mod Podge film "leaves" glued to a piece of raffia! Beautiful when the light makes them glow.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

You have seen the candles on the left before. They were created by applying Mod Podge to the jar, sticking on dried, pressed fall leaves and then applying another coat of Mod Podge.

The candle on the right - the leaves themselves are actually Mod Podge film tinted with food coloring.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

A little close-up. These are not real leaves - they are a tinted Mod Podge film.

I am having so much fun playing with Mod Podge tinted with food coloring in this new way. And it is all because of a "whoops"!

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Remember the very cool leaves I shared last fall. the pigments had migrated into some fascinating and unusual designs.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

They remained in the press all winter and summer,  and I just pulled them out a week or so ago to "preserve" them with Mod Podge so they could be enjoyed during the coming fall season.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

After coating with Mod Podge, all my beautiful leaves are back to their brilliant selves and no longer brittle and fragile.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Unfortunately, I must have been pretty tired when I applied a second coat because the next morning I found a big ole glob of Mod Podge skin dried to the surface of one of the leaves. The surface of one of my favorite leaves.

But in the end, this mistake became inspiration for creating the transparent "leaves" above!

I attempted to remove the ugly glob, thinking I could rescue the leaf with more Mod Podge!

I was successful in removing the glob but not without also removing a section of the layer of Mod Podge on the surface of the leaf.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

HummmmmmmmmmmÂ…. maybe it would be possible to peel off the entire film! Then the leaf could be recoated in Mod Podge. Good idea!

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

And, as I found out, it is possible to remove the entire Mod Podge layer! And in one piece! And look at the cool imprint of the veins and cells!!!

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Of course, I had to try another leaf to just be sure this was not a fluke! It was not!

Removing the Mod Podge film from the surface of the leaf is not difficult, but it does requires a bit of patience.

Gently, gently, gently work an Xacto blade between the leaf and the Mod Podge coating and release the Mod Podge "leaf" from the real leaf.

Practice with one or two until you get the feel of it.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Having pressed several "plain" red leaves, I decided to sacrifice them in the interest of science and removed the Mod Podge film from a third leaf!

It works best to begin at the stem end - even making a tiny slit in the Mod Podge film if necessary in order to work the blade in between the two layers.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

While working at removing the film layer from the second leaf, I suddenly got the idea to try adding yellow, red and orange food color to Mod Podge, brush it on the leaf surface, let it dry and peel it off!

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

So I did! Using the three leaves I had just peeled, I brushed on one coat of each color.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Seeing the brilliant color surrounding the leaf the next morning I started getting pretty excited.

I applied a second coat and let it dry.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Once dry, I got pretty excited seeing how the tinted film was coloring the leaf surface -  I was pretty darn sure that the Mod Podge layer was going to be very colorful and pretty once it was removed.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

I love it when I am right!! And I love the look of the nearly transparent Mod Podge leaves! Especially how every vein and cell is captured and preserved.

Since the colored film will stick to glass - at least for a bit - and since I was very eager to see how they would look with light coming through themÂ…

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

I pressed them onto the surface of a "vase"Â…

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

and a candle jar.

Happy with the results, I decided to make them a permanent part of the vase and slapped on a coat of Mod Podge, gently pressed the colorful little beauties onto the wet surface and then applied another coat of Mod Podge.

DISASTER!

Although my leaves held their shape they lost all the lovely veins and details of the original leaf surface. And they dried bubbly. So instead of a lovely veined texture, I had a smooth and some what bubbly texture.

Not particularly pretty. And very, very disappointing.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

But no way was I giving up! I just had to come up with a better mounting solution!

So I coated two more leaves with Mod Podge. And this time, I actually brushed the colored Mod Podge over two leaves on which I had already applied two coats of clear, uncolored Mod Podge.

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Look at how cool they turned out! Remember - these are not real leaves but just a film of pure Mod Podge.

The leaves were applied to the glass candle jar using spray adhesive, making sure the entire "leaf" surface was gently pressed onto the adhesive to prevent bubbling.

The frosted look the adhesive spray gave the glass is a happy bonus!

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring

Once the adhesive dried, I over-sprayed with matte acrylic spray. And presto! My beautiful film leaves are perfectly preserved - and retain the texture embedded in the transparent leaf.

Hopefully, some of you reading will be inspired to start playing with this technique and then share where you take it from here!

All sorts of things could probably be done with paper, canvas, fabric even!

I am thinking that I've only scratched the surface!

Before I let you go however, I want to pass along a few things I learned along the way.

1. Apply the Mod Podge to the top surface of the leaf. I think the natural waxy top surface tends to release the Mod Podge more readily than the under side.

2. Apply at least two coats of Mod Podge, allowing both coats to dry thoroughly - at least 12 hours. Let dry overnight before attempting to separate the film from the leaf.

I preferred using two coats of clear Mod Podge and then two coats of tinted.

3. I am sure additional coats will intensify the color, but honestly, two tinted coats seemed to be just fine.

4. While yellow and orange seemed to work beautifully, red tint seemed to show the brush marks and unevenness of application. (You can clearly see this problem in the image of all three leaves above.)

I encountered this problem both times I used red tinted Mod Podge. Perhaps a foam brush would be a better tool for this particular color.

5. The stems are very brittle - at least mine are after a year in the press. This was not a problem for me because, as I discovered when applying fall leaves to mason jars a few years ago, the stems often prevent the leaves from lying flat.

OK now - go play and let me know how this works out for you! I am always available to answer questions.

I have also been experimenting with "Mod Podge film" to make teeny tiny little leaves which will be used to make a leaf and candle crown for my Santa Lucia!  Check it out here

ADDED OCTOBER 17, 2012:  Good news!  Mod Podge is available world wide!  Check out the link below to find a supplier near you!

Plaid International Locator

Can I use fake or fabric

Can I use fake or fabric leaves to do this project. Or do they have to be dried?

Beverly, that is a very good

Beverly, that is a very good question.  Unfortunately, I really don't know.  The thing is, you would want to use something that would allow the Mod Podge film to be easily removed from the surface.  I don't think fabric would be a good choice at all.  Maybe plastic would work.  The waxy coating on the leaf surface is what made this project possible.  I wish I had a more useful answer for you.  Hope it helps a little.

HHello and THANK YOU for

HHello and THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge! I had been wondering if mod podge would help. Last year, I was so excited to make leaf art with my first graders. After pressing the leaves and creating beautiful creatures they curled up. I am so excited to try making art with leaves again. Your discovery is wonderful. Thank you for sharing that too.

Wow! This is so unbelievably

Wow! This is so unbelievably super cool from a mistake no less! Just found u by accident too while following link from Pinterest. So glad my inner self told me to click on it! Since you're using food coloring anyway, could u just use plain fresh leaves to do this or do they have to be dried? In case u hadn't guessed I'm new to the uses of Mod Podge & have yet to tackle dried leaves or flowers so kinda nervous to try things that are so brittle. You are Truly an inspiration. You've really got my creative thinking cap bursting with anticipation! Thkx for the very detailed instructions. It'll make it soooo much easier to get it right ;-)!

Great question karen!  I

Great question karen!  I don't know the answer!!  I do not seem to have a problem with my leaves being particularly brittle or delicate when I dry them but i understand some people do.  I do know that fresh leaves dry quite quickly and begin to curl which might interfere.  But give it a try and let me know!!

made these for my table...use

made these for my table...use the cheap tall vases from Dollar tree and the silk flowers they have...also use orange tea light...I received many comments ...tnaks

Please post a picture when

Please post a picture when you make a the candle crown for Santa Lucia. I would love to see it.

Mary, if you will click on

Mary, if you will click on "chec it out here" you will find pictures.  Or use this link.  Still need to add more leaves.

Wow. I'm so impressed. I

Wow. I'm so impressed. I like how you perservered even though it didn't work out the first time. How inspiring. Thank you!

Ummm- how in the world did I

Ummm- how in the world did I miss this! OMG, it's the most brilliant and beautiful thing I've ever seen- I have to find my stash of pressed leaves and try this ASAP.

: )

Joy of joys - Mod Podge (in

Joy of joys - Mod Podge (in all varying types from matt to sparkly) has just landed in a my local craft store in the UK! Right now to get some leaves this weekend and play!!

Yaaaaaaaay!  Most excellent

Yaaaaaaaay!  Most excellent news!

OMG, I can't wait to try

OMG, I can't wait to try this. So cool!

Love happy mistakes . .

Love happy mistakes . . .these make me happy, thank you for sharing. :-)

Wow! Wow! Wow! Pam these are

Wow! Wow! Wow! Pam these are terrific - came to check out your site after reading about it from Amy @ MPR... Congrats on your oops. Lovely tutorial.

wow Pam that is just amazing,

wow Pam that is just amazing, what an fab happy accident! thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

Love your tutorial...can't

Love your tutorial...can't wait to try it out!

I have been using this

I have been using this technique for some years now but not with leaves. I apply a layer or two of my own Mod Podge on to a plastic surface, then add a design from a napkin, then add some more coats of Mod Podge over it. When it has dried, I peel it off the plastic and it becomes a wonderful window light catcher. The more coats of Mod Podge you put onto them, the more translucent they become.
I love this idea of the leaves and can't wait to try it on some of those square, IKEA lights that are so cheap.
Thanks so much for sharing, Lis

Way 2 AWESOME and COOL! Thank

Way 2 AWESOME and COOL! Thank you so much for posting this and for the tutorial! You rock!!!

I will give this a try.

Steve

Oh my gawsh, oh my gawsh, the

Oh my gawsh, oh my gawsh, the SHEER possibilities!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, you had me at transparent film!!!!!!! And the super uber cool thing is that you don't have to wait for Fall to try this innovative and brilliant technique!!!!!!!!! Just a well pressed leaf any time o' year will be completely suitable WOO-HOO!!!!!!!! My wee mind is simply spinning, thanks sooooooooooooo much for stirring my mental pot, you simply rock!!!!!!!!!!

OMG. Are you KIDDING?! This

OMG. Are you KIDDING?! This is the best thing I've seen since the chocolate sundae I just had!

I love this. I can't wait to try it. I'll use mod podge, but I will also experiment with Liquitex gloss gel medium. I love that stuff. And can I paint with acrylic paint? I don't have liquid food color but I'll go get some this weekend. This is genius.

Chris, Acrylic paint will not

Chris, Acrylic paint will not work!  The medium when dry remains opaque.  Food coloring allows it to dry nearly transparent.

I am unfamiliar with Liquitex gloss gel.  You must tell me about it!  And if you experiment - share your results.  

I just popped over from

I just popped over from Pinterest to read about your leaves. They are genius! Just so very pretty. Thank you so much for sharing your technique and tips for creating such beautiful leaf magic!

I absolutely LOVE Fall colors

I absolutely LOVE Fall colors and always wish I could keep them alive all year! With your technique...I can! Thanks for sharing this. I cannot WAIT to get started. My Liquidamber trees should begin changing any day now!

These are beautiful. You are

These are beautiful. You are so ridiculously cool and smart!

lol! Sarah!  I don't think

lol! Sarah!  I don't think anyone has ever called me "ridiculously cool and smart" in my whole life!  Thank you!  You made my day!!

I am happy to hear you like my happy accident!

You are sooo genius! I just

You are sooo genius! I just love reading your tutorials- you always include so much information- dos, don't and tips. I learn a ton and leave inspired! You know I'll be linking!

This is such a creative use

This is such a creative use of ModgePodge, Pam! :-D I really love how you experienced with it.
And you are right, this could be so interesting with different types of papers and/or fabrics. Defenetely something I need to try!

Much hugs! xoxoxo!

such a briliant and great

such a briliant and great tute of your experiments. Love it.
I have made cells like you with less expensive white glue, that works great as well.
You need to work then on thick plastic and make marks were you will paint the layers in.
I had learned that when i was in my final exams of the art academy to make my own cells fabric.
It was working great i could use it on the sewing machine.
Perhaps that's helping others as well.
I love to work with mod podge but it is expensive when there are other solutions that works the same.
but working with it with food colouring is really awesome!!!!
thank you again for such a great new idea of yours.
love it it think one day i will try it out.
We haven't allready falling leaves here, it's still to early in holland.;-D
Glad too.LOL
i must still adjust to a colder weather, my trees i have seen on the roof terras are changing a bit of colour.
but that's high of the ground on the top floor, so the real trees i can watch from my hight are still green.
hey thank you for this and the inspiration of it.
love you XO's

I just love the vase! Will

I just love the vase! Will have to make one this autumn!!

Oh Zara, I hope you do try

Oh Zara, I hope you do try making a vase!  Let me know how it went for you - and remember I am here if you have questions or just want to share.

I've said it before and I'll

I've said it before and I'll say it again: you are a dang genius!

Don't know about "dang

Don't know about "dang genius" but I sure had a lot of help from my muse on this one!!

But it is always good to know a daughter thinks so highly of her mom! Especially when that daughter is YOU!

Wow! Thats a fantastic

Wow! Thats a fantastic discovery. I love how you detailed every aspect of your experiment, another wonderful show and tell. Those leaves look brilliant on the glass and it's hard to believe they're not real.

Thank you so much for thinking of me, you are such a gem. The postman brought me an unexpected and very special card today. I won't ask how you remembered I already know it's because you are super-duper organized!
Thank you!!! You put a smile on a weary face :)
Jx

Thank you Joanie!  And Happy

Thank you Joanie!  And Happy Birthday!!

Holy freakin' cow!! Are you

Holy freakin' cow!! Are you the coolest ever, or what??!! I just...I have no words.

I love your phrase,

I love your phrase, Elizabeth!  Holy freakin cow!!  You had me in stitches.

Pam, that really is autumn

Pam, that really is autumn magic - what a serendipitous discovery!

Yes June, Serendipitous! I

Yes June, Serendipitous! I just wish i had more time to play.  But as you know, I am crocheting beautiful little holiday trees using your bobble stitch tree pattern!!! Two and a half done!!

Wow - what a happy accident!

Wow - what a happy accident! Wonderful! Thank you for sharing. :)

Those came out beautifully!

Those came out beautifully! Great idea.

Thank you, Dyhana!

Thank you, Dyhana!  Completely unplanned  - but i had to run with it!!!

Thanks for letting me "hang

Thanks for letting me "hang out" with you on your leaf experiment. Fun!

Annette!  You have a

Annette!  You have a Cuttlebug!

I would love to see what can be done with your little Cuttlebug and a bit of aluminum from pop cans. Seems you could create endless shapes and textures as templates for colored film. 

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